6 June 2013

India’s Anti-Access Trump Card

By Evan Braden Montgomery 
June 06, 2013

New Delhi’s naval capabilities may never match its ambitions, but an A2/AD strategy would enable it to exercise significant influence in maritime affairs. 

One of the most frequently cited indicators of India’s status as a rising power is its growing emphasis on naval modernization. Historically a land power with a “continentalist” mindset, in recent years India has started to expand its strategic horizons and devote greater attention toward the maritime domain. Although the Indian Navy remains the country’s smallest military service in terms of both personnel and funding, its share of the national defense budget has progressively increased (albeit defense was cut across the board in the latest defense budget). These added resources have supported a number of high-profile acquisition programs, including aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, amphibious transport ships, submarines, and surveillance aircraft. In the words of India’s former Chief of the Naval Staff, this additional funding also reflects “an increasing realization that the destiny of our nation is entwined with our maritime destiny.” 

While India’s goals are lofty, its aspirations are understandable. Rising powers often look to the sea for a host of reasons: to extend their defensive perimeters against potential competitors, to expand and protect their overseas commerce, to intervene abroad in response to emerging threats or humanitarian impulses, and to gain prestige. For its part, New Delhi has good reasons to travel down the path of its predecessors. Despite having little interest in maritime power-projection for most of its history, India’s economic growth now depends upon seaborne commerce, particularly imported crude oil from the Middle East and Africa, along with exports to various countries in East Asia. As a result, it has a natural stake in protecting the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) that stretch from the Arabian Sea to the Indonesian archipelago. 

In addition, China’s growing interest in the Indian Ocean has provided India with an incentive to develop larger and more capable naval forces. Given its own dependence on commercial exports as well as imported natural resources and raw materials, Beijing has a strong interest in preventing any disruption to the SLOCs that connect it to the global economy. It is also skeptical that it can rely on other nations to protect its overseas trade. Today, China does not have the force structure or overseas basing infrastructure necessary to monitor and defend distant sea-lanes running through the Indian Ocean. Nevertheless, it is taking steps to mitigate its “Malacca dilemma,” from building up its surface naval forces and undersea fleet, to financing deep-water commercial ports in littoral and island nations, to making diplomatic inroads with key actors across the Indian Ocean basin. In the future, these efforts could give China the ability to sustain forward-deployed forces in greater numbers—and might upend the maritime military balance in the region. 

Of course, similar interests could be an impetus for strategic collaboration between India and China. In this case, however, they are just as likely to spark a maritime security dilemma. Capabilities that will enable New Delhi to project power and protect SLOCs could also be used to threaten Beijing’s seaborne trade, leading China to further develop its so-called “string of pearls.” Likewise, China’s efforts to increase its military presence in the Indian Ocean region are already viewed as an early form of encirclement in India, prompting countermoves by New Delhi.


All that teachers can do is evolve ways to inculcate values in their students in this difficult age, and hope for the best, writes Devi Kar

For some years, teachers have been despairing about the falling moral standards in society. Youngsters were growing up on a daily diet of scandals, suicides, rapes and murders. More recently, we have begun to worry that schoolchildren were becoming quite blasé about cheating, lying, plagiarizing and breaking rules. The disconcerting aspect of this phenomenon is that they do not consider these acts wrong, since ‘everyone does it’. It is small comfort that since ancient times every successive generation has complained bitterly about the deteriorating conduct of the next — simply because today we are complaining about our own generation as well. Last year, the list of scams in India was the longest since Independence. A telling cartoon in one of the dailies depicts a ministerial hopeful asking a veteran cabinet minister for advice. The minister’s reply is, “Don’t get caught.” There is no denying that in present times, dishonesty has become a way of life. 

Even if we disregard for the moment our daily ration of scams and scandals, we cannot ignore the kind of unethical conduct that we ourselves accept and demonstrate on a regular basis. We violate traffic signals when we realize that there are no policemen around, readily make illegal payments to skirt the law, report ‘sick’ when we want a day off and get false medical certificates from accommodating doctors. We permit our underage children to drive, watch A-rated films, register at adult social networking sites and frequent pubs. Recently, a guest lecturer at a prestigious law school learned that students did not think that paying ‘unofficially’ to speed up a legal process was unethical. As one student pointed out, “Isn’t one’s duty to the client important?” A popular contest in school fests involves making ‘creative’ excuses to get out of a sticky situation. In spite of the light-hearted spirit in which this event may be taken, such activities are likely to reinforce dishonest practices. Many more examples of a casual attitude towards ethics among schoolchildren can be given. All this makes it most urgent for schools to get their students to distinguish between right and wrong. 

This, however, has always been a daunting task. I remember an unsettling experience when a small child asked me quite guilelessly whether god made everything. Without thinking, I said, “Yes.” The child then proceeded to question me as to why she was punished for things which god had made her do. I didn’t think of it then, but I wish I had told her that god had made me punish her. In a serious vein, it is becoming increasingly difficult to address value-related issues. I remember agreeing with a character in a P.D. James murder mystery who observed that we haven’t found an effective substitute for belief. Now we construct our own morality — “What I want is right and I’m entitled to have it.” The old sense of guilt is practically gone. So the question arises, “Can values be restored?” 

India prime target of Chinese cyber-espionage: Kaspersky

By Vladimir Radyuhin 


India has been a prime target of a Chinese cyber-espionage campaign that has been active for at least eight years, according to Russia’s leading IT security provider. 

A report released by the Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Lab said an ongoing hacking attack dubbed NetTraveler has hit hundreds of victims in 40 countries since 2005 or 2004, “with the highest number in Mongolia, India and Russia.” 

The “medium-sized threat actor group from China,” estimated to comprise about 50 individuals has attacked government agencies, embassies, universities, research centres and oil and gas companies and military contractors, as well as Tibetan activists. 

The group has focused on stealing data on space research, nanotechnology, energy production, nuclear power, laser technology, medicine and communications. 

The Kaspersky Lab described NetTraveler as “a malicious data exfiltration tool” that takes advantage of old flaws in Microsoft Office to delivery spear-phishing emails. 

“Although these vulnerabilities have been patched by Microsoft, they remain effective and are among the most exploited in targeted attacks,” said the Kaspersky Lab, which is best known for uncovering Flame and Stuxnet spyware, which targeted Iran’s nuclear programme. 

Kaspersky discovered more than 22 gigabytes of stolen data on the malware’s several command-and-control (C&C) servers, which is a small fraction of the total haul since the rest of it had been downloaded by the hackers and deleted from the servers. 

“Taking into account that several other C&C servers exist for which we have no logs… we estimate the total number of victims worldwide to be around 1,000,” Kaspersky said. 

Kaspersky has promised to release more information on victims to “selected parties, including local authorities of victim countries.”


It is the BCCI that must change for Indian cricket to flourish 

By Ashok Sanjay Guha 

Gurunath Meiyappan at the Crime Branch in Mumbai 

With the arrest of Gurunath Meiyappan, the affairs of the Board of Control for Cricket in India have begun to look increasingly like the cheaper comic theatricals. We have witnessed a Comedy of Errors with the fixer-bowler forgetting his prearranged signal to the bookies before delivering the suspect balls. We have seen the Theatre of the Absurd with the BCCI president fulminating thunderously against the “few bad eggs” who should not be allowed to tarnish the fair name of the game (and of course of its ‘controllers’) — while his son-in-law and principal of his Indian Premier League club played out his own games with the key character in the fixing saga. India being India, we have also been treated inevitably to the Morality Play — the tragic tale of simple cricketers tempted away from the strait and narrow path by the devils of cash, drink, drugs, late-night parties, the IPL. The Market, we have been told, is as always the Villain of the piece, the seducer whose insidious lures have drawn small-town innocents (presumably like the son of the Bollywood actor, Dara Singh, and the successor to the AVM fortune, Gurunath) down the primrose path to the everlasting bonfire. 

Has it in fact been the penetration of the market into the game, typified by the IPL, that has culminated in the present denouement? Protagonists of this view need to brush up on their cricket history. L’affaire Hansie Cronje preceded the IPL by almost a decade, as did the Azharuddin episode. But the games within the game played not only by our players but also by the members of the BCCI, their selectors, captains and coaches have a far longer history. We illustrate this with two such incidents, both now largely forgotten. 

At Sydney in 1992 on India’s disastrous tour of Australia, Azhar won the toss and inserted the hosts. The only successful bowler on the first day was the debutant paceman, S.T. Banerjee, who dismissed Geoff Marsh, Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh. Largely owing to Banerjee’s efforts, Australia were restricted to a moderate score. India, in reply, piled up almost 500, thanks to a double century by Shastri and a century by Tendulkar. In their second innings, Australia struggled for five hours to avert an innings defeat, eventually hanging on desperately at 174 for 8. During these five hours, when an Indian victory loomed as a very real possibility, India’s best bowler in the first innings was not asked by his captain to bowl a single ball. What is more, he was dropped for the remaining two Tests, in which India were duly crushed (as they had been in almost every other match on that tour). Nor did Banerjee ever play for his country again. To this day, he sits in solitary splendour at the top of India’s Test bowling averages at 15 runs apiece for the scalps of three of Australia’s finest batsmen. No one, of course, remembers his name. 

Notes from the Bastar battlefield

By RK Vij 
Jun 06 2013

The Maoists' military formations can be effectively fought only by the deployment of special forces 

The attack in May on the convoy of a political party by the Maoists in Jeeram Ghaati, Bastar in Chhattisgarh should not be seen in isolation. It was an act of frustration on the part of the Maoists, aimed at reasserting their ideology against the democratic values of the country. The killing of 76 CRPF men in 2010 near Chintagufa, the hub of Naxal activities in Sukma district, was an indication of the Maoist strategy of entering a phase of mobile warfare. Mostly, they are still fighting a guerilla war — a war that is sometimes won by the Maoists and at other times, by the security forces. In general, the government writ prevails in such areas and the security forces showcase their authority effectively. In most of the less and moderately affected areas, the Maoists have been pushed back and the police has been able to check their expansion into newer areas with the help of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF). Chhattisgarh's special task force (STF) has played a prominent role, aided by its growing special intelligence branch (SIB). New police stations and security camps in affected areas have restored the people's confidence in the state. 

But the situation in the so-called liberated zone of the Maoists is drastically different. Most of the Maad area and large swathes of Bijapur and Sukma fall into this category. They not only take advantage of the hilly and forested terrain in these areas, but also of the poor connectivity in terms of both roads and communication. The unemployed youth is mostly with them as jan militia, strategically positioned to warn them by providing information on the movement of security forces and engaging them in fire-fighting as the first and front layer, that is, the base force of the "People's Liberation Guerilla Army" (PLGA), constituted by the then Maoist outfit, CPI (ML-PW) in December 2000, renamed to CPI (Maoist) in September 2004. Those that don't support them face their wrath in jan adalats. In such a hostile environment, intelligence outflow has a time lag. 

The guerilla dalams of smaller strength have now swelled to platoons and companies. Whereas the first military Maoist company was formed in the Maad area of Dandakaranya in 2004, after an attack on the armoury of the Koraput district in Orissa, the total number of military companies has increased to more than 10, including two in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, which is also part of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee. Though the Maoists' janatana sarkars (people's government) in "liberated zones" pay only lip-service to villagers to retain their support, their military formations unleash waves of terror at will. They have now formed two military battalions, each with a strength of not less than 250 armed cadres. During the three month period of their tactical counter offensive campaign from March 15 to June 15, they converge at fewer locations to regroup in larger numbers, conspire and organise attacks on security forces and identified targets. These are the military formations fought by the police and the CAPF on a regular basis. 

The Murthys and the Maoists

By Harish Khare 

Between the relentless demands of corporate leaders and the capacity of the underclass to match the state’s violence, India needs a vision for itself that is morally defensible 

In the first week of 2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh allowed himself to be persuaded to accept N.R. Narayana Murthy’s invitation to travel to Mumbai to preside over a function to give away the Infosys Social Science Prizes. The Prime Minister even agreed to attend a dinner that Mr. Murthy wanted to host in his honour after the function at the Taj Mahal Hotel. So far so good. A few days before the event, there was a massive behind-the-scenes dust up between the Prime Minister’s staff and Mr. Murthy. The rub was that Mr. Murthy thought that since he was paying for the dinner, he had a right to dictate not only the guest list but even the seating arrangement. However, there is something called protocol and the dignity of constitutional offices. If the Governor and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra were to be at the dinner, they had to necessarily be seated on either side of the Prime Minister, whereas the host thought he ought to be sitting next to Dr. Singh. Mr. Murthy, however, was not one to be so easily rebuffed. As soon as the first course was served, he sought to convert the evening into a grand intellectual conversation and proceeded to invite his son to open the bowling. And the young son wanted to know from the Prime Minister what the government proposed to do so that young men like him could come back to India.

All this is recalled because the young man is now back in India, as executive assistant to his father, who in turn has allowed himself to be persuaded to take charge of Infosys again. Nepotism, did you say? No; no sir. A private company is free to hire anyone. Fair enough, but not exactly.

Mr. Murthy is not just a private businessman, minding his own business. He has often sought to inject himself into the public domain, telling a thing or two to the political class about how to behave. He has been serenaded as an “iconic” entrepreneur. During the heyday of civil society triumphalism two years ago, there was even a suggestion that Mr. Murthy be made President of India. That was the time when India’s corporate leaders thought they had the ethical credentials to write open letters to the Prime Minister and preach virtues of good governance.

Like other corporate leaders, the Murthys, father and son, represent an unrepentant ideological approach to the Indian state, its morals, manners and policies and purpose, but they are not the only ones to do so. The Maoists — who once again made their presence felt last month when they massacred the Congress top political leadership in Chhattisgarh — too have a list of ideological claims of their own on the Indian state. Both groups are relentless; both are unforgiving.

The May 25 attack was the boldest ideological challenge that the Maoists have posed to the country’s political leadership. Violence makes a demand on all stakeholders. It was no surprise, then, that as soon as news trickled in of the attack on the Congress convoy in Bastar, the party’s vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, should have taken off for Raipur. It was a commendable journey of political solidarity. It would be interesting to find out if the bloody massacre in Sukma has helped Mr. Gandhi re-set his ideological compass.

Our NCTC and Theirs

By Ajai Sahni

Another Conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security will be convened on June 5, 2013, this time in the shadow of the slaughter of political leaders and cadres at Darbha (Chhattisgarh) by the Maoists. A voluminous report on internal security has been ritually compiled by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA), and will be circulated among participants – to what conceivable purpose, it is not clear, since it is unlikely to be read quite so quickly as to inform discussions during the Conference. A higher purpose is likely intended. 

It is also not clear whether the UMHA will display the crass opportunism to push its long-standing effort to secure the approval of the Chief Ministers for its cherished National Counter-terrorism Centre (NCTC) on the specious grounds that the establishment of this grand edifice will help ‘prevent’ future Darbhas, but the Centre has not been above such mean gambits in the past. It is useful, nevertheless, to recall that the establishment of the NCTC remains high among the political priorities of influential segments within the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government and of the UMHA, and has been part of the agenda of earlier and important conferences on internal security. Indeed, this was at the core of the agenda of the earlier Conference of Chief Minsiters, on April 15, 2013, which, in a palpable snub to the UMHA, many invitees chose not to attend. 

In the run-up to the April 15 Conference, Union Minister of Home Affairs Sushil Kumar Shinde, in his pitch for support to the NCTC, told the nation, after the proposed agency had purportedly been divested of all (operational) powers impinging on the Constitution’s federal principles, “There is nothing to oppose in the NCTC now.” 

He was both right and wrong in ways he may not have intended. Right, because not even the terrorists and their state sponsors would find anything objectionable in the proposed NCTC, if ever they had any apprehensions with regard to this bogey – it is and has always been a paper tiger. Wrong, because all the efforts to bulldoze the NCTC through the opposition of the States and through Parliament, are no more than a pathetic charade intended to massage a few political egos and to project a false image of ‘responsiveness’ that adds nothing to counter-terrorism (CT) capabilities and, in fact, would result in their significant diminution in the near term. These considerations give ample reason to oppose the very idea of the NCTC as it is being applied to India. 

This line of reasoning, explored repeatedly elsewhere in the past, is yet to find traction in political and public debate, where the promise of the NCTC, which, we are told, will be “like the US NCTC”, continues to seduce the majority of those who refuse to engage even in minimal due diligence to examine the realities of the US CT experience in the post 9/11 years. 

Discussions on the proposed National Counter-terrorism Centre (NCTC), some with the fairly eminent, but most within relatively modest echelons of Government and ‘civil society’, spike after each major terrorist attack, even as such incidents are cynically exploited by the Centre to push its agenda to bring the NCTC project off the back burner, where it had rightly been pushed. The overwhelming thrust of much of the advocacy of the NCTC has, largely, been a fairly simple argument that can crudely be summarized as follows. After 9/11, the US created its NCTC and, since, had no further terrorist attacks on its soil; ergo, we must have the NCTC, and there will be no further terrorist attacks in India as well. 

This is, to put it bluntly, an idiot’s argument.

Even before the Boston Marathon bombing, apart from the first proposition – that the US created NCTC after 9/11 – every succeeding element of this argument is demonstrably false, and has been clearly falsified elsewhere. Yet, almost every discussion within the echelons of power – including the leaderships of the State’s where qualified opposition to the idea has been tentatively offered – begins with an unspoken premise that the NCTC is necessary, and that the only dispute is over its powers, structure and control. The exception to these discussions comes from actual practitioners – the more knowledgeable in the intelligence and enforcement establishment – many of whom (privately) admit that this new institution will do little, if anything, to improve operational capabilities. 

The time to trust Pakistan is long gone

05 Jun , 2013 

Nawaz Sharif set media wires buzzing when he proclaimed soon after the results were announced in Pakistan’s elections to its parliament last month. Among two statements that stood out were (a) his aim to make peace with the terrorist outfits in Pakistan, and (b) to make peace with India. The two statements are inherently contradictory for India and immensely illogical from the Indian perspective. 

…it is impossible for India to be friends with a nation that covertly supports those who would attack India’s Parliament, upset the peace in Indian states, launch attacks such as 26/11, and so on, uninterruptedly for 66 years. 

While Sharif may well make peace with the terrorists, the trouble is that the terrorists are unlikely to make peace with India. Thus, India would supposedly be at peace with a neighbor whose sentiments are absolutely anti-Indian, and which, in turn, has a filial relationship with the terrorist outfits that haunt India. 

There was truth to the statement when George Bush informed the whole world in 2001 that they were either with the USA in their fight against terrorists or against the USA. It is difficult to be friendly with a person or nation that is friendly with your arch enemy. Check this in your daily relationships in life. How easy do you feel being close to a person who is closely chummy with your mortal enemy? 

Similarly, it is impossible for India to be friends with a nation that covertly supports those who would attack India’s Parliament, upset the peace in Indian states, launch attacks such as 26/11, and so on, uninterruptedly for 66 years. 

The support to multiple jihadi outfits was palpable from the last time that Nawaz Sharif was prime minister, 1997-99. While from the front he engaged in bus diplomacy with Atal Vajpayee, he aided and abetted the various terrorist outfits on the side. He gave them funds, granted land to them for building their establishments, and in every other way greased the wheels for them in government paperwork. It is also likely that he funneled small arms to them via the ISI that were secretly procured for them from the Peshawar arms bazaar. How can all this bode well for India? It is also difficult to believe that Sharif is a changed person who has suddenly found religion. However, there are many in the Indian establishment who would believe this and parley in negotiations for the sake of advancing their diplomatic careers, notwithstanding that India could suffer in the process. 

There is inherent double-speak in any Pakistani overture to India. Pakistan was born out of hatred for India, and till today harbors intense hatred. How can anyone expect India not to take cognizance of this, or to trust Pakistan when it spews hatred for Indians on a daily basis? 

Every day, the Pakistani army justifies its existence to the Pakistani public because of an Indian military threat at their border. They conveniently forget that they, too, threaten India. However, this actually feeds very well into the mindset of the Pakistani military which feels morally guilty about its past actions against India, and so is rightfully already paranoid about a possible Indian invasion in revenge. They probably don’t realize they are likely to get what they fear most. In essence, the Pakistan military has maneuvered successfully to gain a place in the Pakistani psyche, with fear and hatred of India being the sole rallying point. At every turn, they make their Pakistani people feel more and more victimized at the hand of secular India. The Pakistani military doesn’t want to let that wound heal among their Pakistani public, because if they do, it will be their end, for they fear loss of respect on that count. In other words, they want India to sound and act belligerent. But, this should not silence India into doing what is morally just and right – defending itself and its interests and honor – and arming itself against what is a truthful and corporeal, de facto threat to India. 

Can Pakistan Avert Demographic Doom?

By Michael Kugelman 
June 05, 2013 

While Sharif’s agenda will be filled with more immediate issues, a larger disaster is lurking. 

On May 11, Pakistan’s Election Day, approximately 60 percent of eligible voters went to the polls. This figure far exceeded the 44 percent who turned out for Pakistan’s previous election in 2008. Media reports have featured moving accounts of the elderly being carried to the polls, and of women standing in the heat for hours to cast their ballots. 

Yet one of the most defining features of the voting population was its youth. About a fifth of Pakistan’s 85 million registered voters were between 18 and 25 years old, with another 15 percent between the ages of 26 and 30. 

Young people represent, by far, Pakistan’s largest demographic. The statistics are striking: Two thirds of the country’s approximately 180 million people are not yet 30 years old, and the median age is 21. As a percentage of the total population, only Yemen has more people under 24. 

Little wonder youth were courted so aggressively on the campaign trail – from Imran Khan’s social media-fueled populist calls for change to Nawaz Sharif’s distribution of free laptops. 

Projections suggest that Pakistan’s youth bulge will remain in place for decades. The 15-to-24 age bracket is expected to rise by 20 percent in the 2020s, and the under-24 population will still be in the majority come 2030. Even by 2050, the median age is expected to be just 33. 

Demographers often speak of the “dividend” that can result from this youth-heavy population. If, they argue, these kids are properly educated and incorporated into the workforce (and particularly into burgeoning high-growth sectors like IT), then Pakistan’s sputtering economy could truly take off—and perhaps, in time, even replicate the economic triumphs of India. 

Unfortunately, this will be no easy feat. 

Pakistan’s government – thanks in great part to the country’s powerful military, which consumes large portions of the national budget – has never invested in the education of its masses. Consider that today, more than 40 million of Pakistan’s 70 million 5-to-19-year olds are not in school. 

Pakistan's Rickover

By Michael Krepon

Pakistan’s national security decisions are usually choreographed between senior active duty military officers in Rawalpindi and government officials in Islamabad. If military leaders feel strongly about a particular policy or initiative, they can usually count on the consent of politicians. Conversely, if political leaders do not have military support, their favored initiatives are likely to fail. There is usually little daylight between Rawalpindi and Islamabad with respect to Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent.

Pakistan’s nuclear program is a rare success story and a great source of national pride. Those who have been instrumental in this record of accomplishment have been given broad leeway to pursue requirements as they see fit. These requirements are set by very few individuals, almost all with military backgrounds.

Every nation’s nuclear weapon-related programs have elevated a few individuals into positions of extraordinary authority. Some have remained in the shadows, a few have become national embarrassments, and others have gained public renown. The “father” of the U.S. nuclear navy, Admiral Hyman Rickover, had such a high profile and was deemed to be so essential by his supporters on Capitol Hill that his retirement from active duty was postponed until the ripe old age of 81.

Pakistan’s closest approximation to Admiral Rickover is Lt. General (ret.) Khalid Kidwai, who presently is in his thirteenth year as the Director-General of the Strategic Plans Division at Joint Staff Headquarters. The SPD oversees strategy, doctrine, research, development, production and protection of Pakistan’s nuclear assets.

Admiral Rickover and General Kidwai could not be more dissimilar in personality or conduct. Rickover’s steel will did not brook dissent over questions of submarine design, personnel, training and related matters. Rickover would imperiously circumvent his military superiors when he suspected or opposed their judgment. General Kidwai is a man of low-key demeanor with a sense of humility who works through military channels. Like Rickover, his competence inspires the view that he is indispensable. Unlike Rickover, my sense is that General Kidwai would contest this conclusion.

General Kidwai faced retirement in 2005 because his time on active duty would extend beyond those who were about to out-rank him. At that juncture, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Ehsan ul-Haq, and Chief of Army Staff (and President of Pakistan) Pervez Musharraf decided to keep General Kidwai in place at the SPD after his retirement. While many retired military officers have been given plum assignments overseeing civilian institutions in Pakistan, the appointment of a retired military officer to be in charge of the nuclear program was very unusual.

General Kidwai has a long gallery of pictures on his wall of the successful strategic modernization initiatives he has overseen. He has cleaned up the mess at the A.Q. Khan Labs. He has improved security at sensitive sites. He has set up institutional mechanisms that are sound and that can handle a baton pass.

There aren’t many more tests for General Kidwai to pass. There is one test, however, that founding fathers of nuclear programs usually flunk. It’s the test of avoiding excess.

This is not a Pakistan-specific problem. Most of the founding fathers of the U.S. and Soviet nuclear programs also flunked this test. Regardless of nationality, nuclear enclaves share a common assumption that more capability equals more security – especially when an adversary is engaged in a nuclear build-up. In this view, the more foreboding the edifice of deterrence looks, the less inclined your adversary will be to cross red lines.

Strategic Threats Roundtable

April 28, 2013

On April 28, CSBA Vice President Jim Thomas joined an expert panel on This Week in Defense to discuss future strategic threats facing the United States,Washington’s renewed focus on Asia, how to deal with nations that have weapons of mass destruction, and learning the right lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Believing The Islamic Lie

June 3, 2013

Christians in countries with Moslem majorities, or large minorities, are having a difficult time getting the rest of the world to recognize that most (as in about 80 percent) of the religious violence in the world is carried out against Christians and most of the violence is committed by Moslems. This is because the Islamic world, while unable to do much in terms of economic, scientific, or cultural progress, or even govern themselves effectively, have proven quite adept at convincing leaders and media organizations in the West that Islam is not the aggressor and is actually the victim. For those who have spent any time living among Moslems, this all seems absurd. But this delusion is real.

For example, it’s official policy in the U.S. military to eliminate any mention of a war between Islam and the West. This policy is enforced despite the fact that Islam, at least according to many Islamic clerics is at war with the West. The U.S. has officially maintained this since shortly after September 11, 2001, despite the fact that many Islamic clerics and government officials in Moslem nations, agree with the "Islam is at war with the West" idea. But many Western leaders prefer to believe that by insisting that such hostile attitudes are not widespread in Moslem countries, the hostility will diminish. To that end the U.S. government has, for years, been removing any reference to "Islam" and "terrorism" in official documents. This comes as a shock to military or civilian personnel who have spent time in Moslem countries. The "Islam is at war with the West" angle is alive and well among Moslems.

There is plenty of evidence. For example, twenty nations account for over 95 percent of terrorism activity in the world. Of these twenty (Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Yemen, Iran, Uganda, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, Palestinian Territories, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Colombia, Algeria, Thailand, Philippines, Russia, Sudan, Iran, Burundi, India, Nigeria, and Israel) all but four of them (Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Colombia, and Burundi) involve Islamic terrorism. In terms of terrorism fatalities the top four nations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia) accounted for 75 percent of the world total of terrorism related deaths. All of these were the result of Islamic radicalism, often directed at other Moslems and not just non-Moslems (infidels).

This has been the case for decades, and the Moslem world does not like to dwell on this fact. Many Moslem leaders admit that there is a lot of Islamic terrorism but insist that it’s all the fault of infidels (non-Moslems) who are making war on Islam, so some Moslems feel compelled to fight back. The catch-phrase Moslem leaders like to repeat is that Islam is the “religion of peace.” It is not, and the historical record makes that very clear.

It's not just a long history of Moslem violence but lots of violence that is still going on. Currently, you find Moslems attacking Buddhists in Thailand, Jews everywhere, Baha'is in Iran, and Christians in Egypt, Iraq, the Philippines, Pakistan, Malaysia, and elsewhere. Islam does not discriminate when it comes to religious violence, and most Moslems killed because of religious violence are killed by fellow Moslems over religious differences. Usually its Sunni extremists (like al Qaeda) killing Shia (or any other sect that deviates from strict Sunni interpretations of Islamic law and religious customs).

This is not a sudden and unexpected outburst of Moslem violence against non-Moslems and Moslems considered heretical. It is normal and at the root of Islamic terrorism. While this violent behavior represents only a small number of Moslems, it is a large minority (from a few percent of a population to over half, according to opinion polls). Moreover, the majority of Moslems has not been willing, or able, to confront and suppress the Islamic radicals that not only spread death and destruction but also besmirch all Moslems. This reveals a fundamental problem in the Islamic world, the belief that combining righteousness with murderous tactics is often the road to power and spiritual salvation. Throughout history, when these tactics were applied to non-Moslems, they often failed. The non-Moslems were unfazed by the religious angle and, especially in the last five hundred years, were better able to defeat Islamic violence with even greater violence. Thus, until quite recently, the Moslems fought among themselves and left the infidels (non-Moslems) alone. But after World War II that began to change.

Things are changing. Better be cool, Mr Xi

06 June 2013 

Millions of Chinese are craving for more freedom to express their problems and their aspirations. This could well be the beginning, even if small, of a sort of democratic process in the Communist nation

Is Mr Xi cool? No, according to a Beijing-based business magazine, The Investor Journal, which was swiftly censured last week after publishing a full-page editorial asking the new leadership to start political reforms to ensure the future economic prosperity of the Middle Kingdom. Without mentioning President Xi Jinping’s name, the editor-in-chief, Mr Zhao Li, daringly wrote: “When the debate [about constitutionalism] broke out and our new leader’s [Xi] verbal environment was confirmed — [we found that] he is far from cool.” His argument is that the Chinese investors are unhappy with a society where the distribution of wealth is ‘stagnant and deformed’. Mr Zhao went a step further when he compared the ‘freedom’ experienced today on the Chinese microblogs Weibo and WeChat to the Democracy Wall at the end of the 1970s or the situation in Beijing University campus in the early months of 1989.

But 24 years after the dramatic events of Tiananmen Square, freedom is relative in China. A recent study conducted by several US universities on ‘The Velocity of Censorship’, shows that the authors were able to detect deletions of posts within one minute of the event, “giving us a high-fidelity view of what is being deleted by the censors and when.” While analysing the deleted posts, they stumbled upon difficulties, for example, neologisms or informal language used on Chinese social media. However, their conclusion was that deletions occurred mainly in the first hour after a post has been submitted; some 30 per cent of the total deletion events occurred within five to to 30 minutes, while nearly 90 per cent of the deletions happened within the first 24 hours. The deletions are faster when subject combines current events and hot topics or sensitive issues such as the Party, the Government, corruption or Tibet.

As Mr Zhao pointed out, the hot discussion between Weibo and the official media over ‘constitutionalism’ had an intensity close to, or perhaps even surpassing, the controversy caused by the World Economic Herald in the Spring of 1989. The pro-reform publication had then dared to praise the sacked Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang. Deng Xiaoping had accused Hu, who had just passed away, of being soft on dissent. The Herald wanted Deng to retract his denunciation of Hu. Eventually, Shanghai’s Party Secretary and future President Jiang Zemin was instrumental in the closure of the publication. Mr Jiang would have said: “It’s not appropriate to publish these sensitive views in the current situation.”

Today, why is Mr Xi not cool? Recently, some 100 members of the Tiananmen Mothers Group published an open letter addressed to Mr Xi; the mothers are disappointed by the President’s public speeches and his reluctance to take political reforms head on. They point out that Mr Xi had praised things that needed to be repudiated, particularly the Cultural Revolution and June 4 (the Tiananmen massacre): “This has caused those individuals who originally harbored hopes in him in carrying out political reform to fall into sudden disappointment and despair. …What we see, precisely, are giant steps backwards towards Maoist orthodoxy.” Professor Ding Zilin, the founder of the group said: “We thought Mr Xi should have the backbone, like his father, to do something for China’s political reform and democratic development, but now we’ve found he is just following what his predecessors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao did.”

Philippines vs. China Moves to the UN

"What belongs to us belongs to us," Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Philippines, said in a speech marking the 115th anniversary of the country's navy. In January of this year the Philippines, rather boldly, and all alone, took China to an international tribunal over its nine-dash line on a map marking vast areas of the South China Sea over which China claims sovereignty. The broken line blithely includes islands that lie within 270 kilometres of the Philippines coast and which the Philippines claims is theirs under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

All five judges to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) have now been appointed. The case doesn't need China's agreement to proceed. China was offered the right to appoint an arbitrator but waived it. 

The Chinese nine-dash map includes areas that have been claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and Vietnam. Taiwan's claims echo those of China. No other country has joined the Philippines and Japan, which has a different territorial dispute with China, has also stayed to one side. 

As a territorial claim, the nine-dash map is a bit of an oddity. The dashes haven't been joined, the area is vast and no coordinates are specified. The map came into existence in 1947 and China claims historical sovereignty over the whole region. To say that it doesn't meet standard map drafting requirements is an understatement. Nevertheless, China filed it with the United Nations some time before the case the Philippines laid before the tribunal. 

China acknowledges that there are disputes with the other claimants but wants to see them settled by bilateral talks with the country concerned. It opposes internationalisation of the issues. By taking the case to international jurisdiction, the Philippines is almost certainly saying that it has given up any hope of progress through direct talks with China. 

China regularly sends military patrol ships to waters claimed by the Philippines, which in turn makes formal protests. The Philippines coast guard recently shot and killed a Taiwanese fisherman, bringing forth stern reprimands from both Taiwan and China. 

President Aquino's comment was accompanied by a promise of more support for the navy. China has protested about the Philippines putting more structures on Ayungin Shoal. The Philippines responded that China couldn't tell the Philippines what it should do with its own territory. 

China and ASEAN have agreed to establish a Code of Conduct in the East Sea. Some hope-though not much-rests in that. The islands have been subject to competing claims for many years. The difference now is that China has become more assertive about its claims. 

Historical Fiction: China’s South China Sea Claims

The Spratly Islands—not so long ago known primarily as a rich fishing ground—have turned into an international flashpoint as Chinese leaders insist with increasing truculence that the islands, rocks, and reefs have been, in the words of Premier Wen Jiabao, “China’s historical territory since ancient times.” Normally, the overlapping territorial claims to sovereignty and maritime boundaries ought to be resolved through a combination of customary international law, adjudication before the International Court of Justice or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, or arbitration under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). While China has ratified UNCLOS, the treaty by and large rejects “historically based” claims, which are precisely the type Beijing periodically asserts. On September 4, 2012, China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that there is “plenty of historical and jurisprudence evidence to show that China has sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters.” 

As far as the “jurisprudence evidence” is concerned, the vast majority of international legal experts have concluded that China’s claim to historic title over the South China Sea, implying full sovereign authority and consent for other states to transit, is invalid. The historical evidence, if anything, is even less persuasive. There are several contradictions in China’s use of history to justify its claims to islands and reefs in the South China Sea, not least of which is its olemical assertion of parallels with imperialist expansion by the United States and European powers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Justifying China’s attempts to expand its maritime frontiers by claiming islands and reefs far from its shores, Jia Qingguo, professor at Beijing University’s School of International Studies, argues that China is merely following the example set by the West. “The United States has Guam in Asia which is very far away from the US and the French have islands in the South Pacific, so it is nothing new,” Jia told AFP recently. 

China’s claim to the Spratlys on the basis of history runs aground on the fact that the region’s past empires did not exercise sovereignty. In pre-modern Asia, empires were characterized by undefined, unprotected, and often changing frontiers. The notion of suzerainty prevailed. Unlike a nation-state, the frontiers of Chinese empires were neither carefully drawn nor policed but were more like circles or zones, tapering off from the center of civilization to the undefined periphery of alien barbarians. More importantly, in its territorial disputes with neighboring India, Burma, and Vietnam, Beijing always took the position that its land boundaries were never defined, demarcated, and delimited. But now, when it comes to islands, shoals, and reefs in the South China Sea, Beijing claims otherwise. In other words, China’s claim that its land boundaries were historically never defined and delimited stands in sharp contrast with the stance that China’s maritime boundaries were always clearly defined and delimited. Herein lies a basic contradiction in the Chinese stand on land and maritime boundaries which is untenable. Actually, it is the mid-twentieth-century attempts to convert the undefined frontiers of ancient civilizations and kingdoms enjoying suzerainty into clearly defined, delimited, and demarcated boundaries of modern nation-states exercising sovereignty that lie at the center of China’s territorial and maritime disputes with neighboring countries. Put simply, sovereignty is a post-imperial notion ascribed to nation-states, not ancient empires. 

Overcoming Fear Of Fighting Back

June 4, 2013

The non-government victims of China’s long (over a decade) Internet based espionage campaign are desperate to come up with remedies. Building better defenses is a flawed approach because, well, there are so many undiscovered flaws in hardware and software used on the Internet. Some companies can achieve a very high level of protection, but this is very expensive and imposes limitations on how they can use the Internet. What many of these corporations and (much more discreetly) some government officials are discussing is striking back at the attackers. While most counterattack methods are technically illegal, some ideas are gaining traction. 

China is the biggest culprit here, but China uses a lot of freelancers and these come from all over. Eastern Europe is a big source of skilled criminal hackers, but there are even a few in the United States and Western Europe. These hackers for hire are everywhere and locating, identifying, and prosecuting them is extremely difficult. The easiest ones to catch (those involved in Internet based fraud, which requires less skill) are not the ones most wanted (the expert hackers who can steal very valuable data). 

One suggestion is to hire some of these mercs to fight back. This has actually been going on for a while but not for retaliation. Instead the criminal coders are more often used to do illegal snooping for corporations and governments. Sometimes the bad guys changes sides and become a valuable resource for Internet security companies. The new thinking is to hire the virtuoso criminal hackers to take down the larger hacker gangs by any means necessary. This approach bends or breaks a lot of laws. The degree of desperation the victims are feeling makes all this a lot more acceptable these days. Now lobbyists are being deployed to see what kind of cooperation can be obtained from the government. For example, there are some countries where the “hired mercs” approach is legal (or less illegal) and attacks could be staged from there. If major nations could be persuaded to just look the other way while the retribution was carried out offshore, that might work. 

Meanwhile the U.S. Department of Defense is not waiting idly by and revealed earlier this year that it is now spending $30 million to set up offensive Cyber War operations in the army and air force. Two-thirds of the money is being spent by the air force, which has traditionally taken the lead in Cyber War matters. The money is being spent mainly to buy hardware for the hackers, as well as software tools. 

Offensive Cyber War involves a lot more than just trying to hack your way into specific enemy computers and networks. First you have to find out what you are up against. This begins with mapping where everything on enemy networks is. China was noted doing this back in 2005, and the mapping they were doing was a prerequisite to a major attack on non-Chinese systems that is still underway. 

After the initial mapping you select the best targets. This is done by determining which systems yield the best impact (which ones have the most valuable information and/or are the most vulnerable). Then you go in and collect more information on specific attacks on military targets. After that you carry out the attacks. 

Cyber War: Another Epic Fail

June 04, 2013 


WASHINGTON—If you weren’t paying attention last week, you might have missed the news that Chinese hackers have accessed blueprints of our most advanced military weapons and communications systems, including Patriot missile technology, the V22 Osprey, the Aegis Ballistic Defense System, and the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship. This epic fail of our so-called “cyber security” efforts was reported quietly in the mainstream news and met with mild indignation among the Beltway Bubble’s punditry set.

Talk about a sleeper story — if all this is true then it isn’t a breach, it’s an invasion. And if we’re going to call this a “war,” well, it’s another one we’re well on the way to losing, despite the tens of billions of dollarsthe taxpayers have put into the waging. 

For his part, President Barack Obama will “raise the issue” of cyber security with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping when they meet this week in California. We are sure Xi Jinping is shaking in his boots. 

Not surprisingly, administration officials quickly downplayed Wednesday’sWashington Post story, which reprinted key elements in the confidential version of areport issued in January by the Pentagon-appointed Defense Science Board (DSB). Pentagon spokesman George Little and “other defense officials,” according to a subsequent Reuters account, downplayed the WaPo piece as old news. 

Perhaps, seeing that a simple Google search finds that the Chinese cyber assault on our military secrets has been an open secret in Washington for years. But that doesn’t make the news any more outrageous. The Washington Post story helpfully packages together the drip, drip of these bodacious incursions, plus a heck of a lot we did not know about before. Read here for a list of the hacked systems and technologies and tell me it’s not somewhat staggering in its implications. Just think, the U.S. is spending upwards of $1.5 trillion on the boondoggle F-35 and the Chinese might already be cloning it

It all begs the question: what have we been doing all these years besides bleeding the treasury and rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic? We got the War on Drugs, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. Are we really going to add another money pit to the list of failures and respond with a collective sign of passive resignation? All signs point “yes.” 

It’s clear that the defense contracting community shares quite a bit of the responsibility here. Goliaths like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, etc., not only build the weapons and develop the technology, but they hold hundreds of contracts and sub-contracts to provide cyber security services to the federal government, including every branch of the military and the National Security Agency (NSA) and CIA, too. Take a look at The Washington Post’s “Top Secret America” series from a few years back — 143 private companies were involved in cyber security for the feds in 2010, in addition to hundreds contracting directly with agencies and departments. Many of the big boys have offices stationed right near or at the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, and all over the Washington, D.C. metro area. 

Congressman: Obama is letting China steal U.S. military secrets

June 4, 2013 

A formerly obscure naval exercise involving China and the United States is coming under increased scrutiny ahead of President Barack Obama's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday. 

For the first time, the Obama administration invited China's People's Liberation Army to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, an annual maritime exercise that enlists a variety of nations typically allied with the United States. But in wake of concerted Chinese attempts to obtain U.S. military secrets, not everyone is thrilled about the two naval powers floating side-by-side. 

"The administration made a mistake by letting China play a role in the Rim of the Pacific exercises," Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, tells The Cable. "They will likely utilize these exercises to their advantage: stealing our military secrets and better understanding our military strategy." 

Michael Auslin, a resident scholar of Asian security studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, agrees. 

"They will get a better understanding of our tactics and procedures as they see how we can coordinate with our allies and friends," he told The Cable. "I would much rather see them mystified about how well or closely we work with the Japanese or Australians. If they come into RIMPAC and see the improved communications between the fleets, that is valuable from a military perspective." 

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter first acknowledged that China had accepted the offer in March, though the invite was originally extended by then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last year. At the time, Carter said, "We seek to strengthen and grow our military-to-military relationship with China, which matches and follows our growing political and economic relationship."

Ten Revelations From Bradley Manning's WikiLeaks Documents

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, center, is escorted as he leaves a military court at Fort Meade, Md., on Monday.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

In 2010, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was detained in Iraq on suspicion of passing classified U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks. On Monday, after more than three years in military jail, his trial finally began at Fort Meade, Md. 

The 25-year-old intelligence analyst admitted earlier this year to passing documents to the whistle-blowing website, though he denies the charge of “aiding the enemy,” an offense that carries a life sentence or the death penalty. Manning said at a pretrial hearing in February that he leaked information, including diplomatic cables and U.S. military war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, in order to “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy.” 

Below is a list of 10 revelations disclosed by Manning’s leaked documents that offer insight into the breadth and scope of what he revealed, help explain his motivation for leaking, and provide context for the ongoing trial. The list, in no particular order, is far from comprehensive but encompasses some of the most significant information brought to light by the leaked documents. 

During the Iraq War, U.S. authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape, and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers, according to thousands of field reports. 
There were 109,032 “violent deaths” recorded in Iraq between 2004 and 2009, including 66,081 civilians. Leaked records from the Afghan War separately revealed coalition troops’ alleged role in killing at least 195 civilians in unreported incidents, one reportedly involving U.S. service members machine-gunning a bus, wounding or killing 15 passengers. 

The U.S. Embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country that opposed genetically modified crops, with U.S. diplomats effectively working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto.